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Unlocking Foster Care Success: Why Agencies Desperately Need More Than Passion for a Brighter Future


In a recent article published by The San Diego Union-Tribune (Evans, 2023) , the author highlights the struggles faced by cash-strapped foster family agencies in California. The article emphasizes that passion alone is not sufficient to support these agencies, and they desperately need increased funding and resources.

The Importance of Foster Family Agencies

Foster Family Agencies (FFAs) play a critical role in California's foster care system. They find supportive homes for foster children with complex needs, such as medical, mental, emotional, or educational challenges. These agencies are essential in the state's goal to place every foster child in a family home rather than group settings.

The Challenges Faced by FFAs

Despite the crucial work they do, FFAs are struggling due to a lack of financial support from the state. The cost of running these agencies has skyrocketed over the past two decades, while the state's financial support has barely increased. As a result, many talented staff members are leaving for better-paying jobs in the private sector.

A survey conducted by the California Alliance for Child and Family Services revealed that 44% of FFAs are at risk of downsizing, while 27% could close completely without immediate additional funding. This would be disastrous for California's already strained foster care system.

The Need for More Support

To ensure the survival and success of FFAs, the state must increase its support. The article suggests that a one-time budget proposal from the California Alliance could offer a lifeline to these agencies until new rates come into effect in 2025. However, waiting until then is not an option, as the situation has reached a tipping point.

The consequences of not addressing this issue are severe. High turnover rates among social workers at FFAs can significantly impact the success of foster children in finding permanent homes. Studies have shown that children who work with one agency social worker have a 75% chance of finding a permanent home, but this rate drops to less than 3% for children who have had three or more social workers.


The article makes it clear that passion alone cannot sustain foster family agencies. They require adequate funding and resources to continue providing essential services to vulnerable children in California. The state must act now to support these agencies, ensuring that they can continue their vital work in helping foster children find safe, loving, and supportive homes.


Evans, T. (2023, May 2). Opinion: Passion isn’t enough for cash-strapped foster family agencies. We need more support. The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved from